If you’re running an e-commerce store you’re probably looking into your conversion rate every day. Unlike traditional retail where a pretty good share of walk-in visitors turn into customers, e-commerce is a bit different.

Despite the comfort and convenience it provides, many online retail store have comparatively low conversion rates. On average only about 3-4% of visits result in purchases. While shipping restrictions and complicated checkouts are responsible for a large share of abandoned shopping carts, incomplete product information and uncertainty of ordering products online also contribute to low conversion rates.

Luckily, there are ways to tackle this. One of the most effective ways of increasing e-commerce conversion rate is by addressing the uncertainty through product videos. Here are 5 things you need to know about the power of videos to drive conversions.

Why product videos drive conversions

It’s hard to say precisely how widespread is the use of videos in e-commerce, but data from eMarketer suggests that about 73% of top online stores feature product videos on their pages.

It comes as no surprise. When researching their purchases, 67% of consumers look for video content at least once.

Why? Because oftentimes seeing only product images on the site and reading descriptions is just not enough to visualize a purchase.

Product videos add a different dimension to the online shopping experience. They allow visitors to see the product from multiple angles in motion, to see it in a context and to understand better how it works. They allow shoppers to quickly spot the differences between brands and models. This is invaluable information that is often difficult to grasp online using only images and text. As 52% of shoppers admit, watching product videos makes them feel more confident to place an order.

Here’s what happens once product video is added to an e-commerce store:

This is not where the effects of product videos stop. In fact, 45% of shoppers would return to the e-commerce store that offers helpful product videos, while 44% would buy more products from the same site. A stunning 93% of shoppers say that videos are useful after the product is already purchased, because they offer instructions on how to use it.

Product videos that convert

So, do all product videos work equally well at converting visitors into customers? Just like there are the good, the bad, and the ugly in product photography, some product videos work better than others at converting shoppers.

As a general guide, a good product video should fulfill the following criteria:

It should fulfill a specific goal.

A product video that tries to be everything to everyone is like an endless infomercial. Nobody likes infomercials (Well, at least not us!). Each product video should fulfill a specific purpose. For example, if you’re selling a juicer and you want to show shoppers just how easy it is to assemble it,  then you should opt for a how-to video that instructs users how to put the parts together. Leave the recipes and the health tips for another time. If you want to talk about the overall benefits of the product, keep your focus on review videos. It’s better to have multiple videos for each product that can engage shoppers with different interests and at different stages of the shopping journey than to try to fit everything in one lengthy video with too many story lines.

Which brings us to the next point.

It should be brief and succinct.

Yes, your products might be so great and versatile that you could talk about them for hours. But online shoppers don’t have too much time on their hands. According to this study, average session duration on e-commerce sites is just 3:49 minutes. For more well-established online retailers it can be between 9-15 minutes, but it still leaves limited time for visitors to truly immerse themselves in the content. That’s why product videos need to be concise and to the point. Keep them short and sweet, ideally 1-3 minutes long.

It should be focused.

If you were about to watch a shark movie and not even a single fin appeared in the first hour of the film you’d be annoyed, right? The same goes for product videos. If your video promises to showcase product features or demonstrate how to do assembly, then it should dive into this head first. Don’t test viewer’s patience with lengthy intros and unrelated stores. Keep it focused.

It should look real and genuine.

Back to infomercials. The reason why so many people find these videos borderline ridiculous is because they tend to exaggerate customer pain points and glorify product benefits as life-changing breakthroughs (even if the product is just a garden hose). The end effect is often quite unnatural and not very believable. That’s why product videos for e-commerce stores should strive to be authentic and sincere. Have your customers talk about the products and what they like about them. Show products in real-life contexts. You want conversion, so give visitors a reason to believe that they’ll make a right decision by clicking the “buy” button.

When it comes to the types of product videos, some do convert consumers better than the others depending on the stage in the purchasing funnel.

48% of consumers say that user-generated content is a great way to discover new products. Consumer-made product videos such as reviews, “first impressions” and “hauls” are a great way to introduce shoppers to new brands or product additions.

When researching products to order online, most shoppers want to be able to see details such as product packaging or complementary items. This is where unboxing videos come handy. For example, in the beauty vertical, 66% of shoppers say that unboxing videos help them visualize their future purchases. Setting the right expectations can play a big role in getting conversions, so use unboxing videos to close those sales.

Shoppers who have already narrowed down their selection and are ready to buy respond well to how-to and tutorial videos. 73% of shoppers are more likely to convert after watching product videos that showcase how a product works.

Finally, it’s a good practice to offer visitors a combination of brand and consumer-made product videos. Research shows that a consumer’s share of choice goes up to 35% when UGC videos are used in combination with professional videos to drive sales.

These are just a few basic tips to have in mind if you’re looking to utilize product videos to improve your conversion rate. Depending on your skills and time, you can either opt to run your conversion optimization strategy manually or automate the most difficult parts, such as video discovery, curation, A/B testing, etc.

Let us know in the comments below if you’re using product videos on your e-commerce store and what results you’re seeing, or tweet us!